Here at Epic, we are incredibly lucky to have such a vibrant Master Teacher community this year. Spanning 37 states and 20 countries, our Master Teachers have sparked innovation and creativity among colleagues who are searching for ways to engage with their students, in and out of the classrooms. In addition to being inspirations to students and fellow educators, our Master Teachers also help shape the Epic experience by providing their expertise and insights through surveys, interviews and advisory groups.
Each month, we’ll be introducing you to one of our outstanding Master Teachers here on our blog, and we hope you’ll be just as inspired by them as we are.
Meet Master Teacher of the Month, Amanda Alba!
2nd-grade teacher Amanda Alba’s classroom bursts with creative lessons and joy. One quick peek at her Instagram, and you’ll know why! During these trying times for teachers, she has truly been an inspiration to her students and other teachers alike. She teaches at Navy Hale Keiki School, a small, private school in Honolulu, Hawaii that serves mostly military families. She’s been working there for 13 school years now and truly loves her small community. Here’s what she shared in our recent interview with her:
Epic: How did you get into the profession of teaching?
Alba: I was working as a Prekindergarten Teacher Assistant while pursuing my undergraduate degree and knew I wanted to work with kids and become a teacher. There’s something truly remarkable about what goes on in a classroom. I worked with amazing mentor teachers and learned so much from each of them. I knew I wanted to have a classroom of my own and be an inspiration to my students, as my own teachers were to me growing up.
Epic: Tell us a little bit about how remote teaching has been for you. What have been your challenges? What are you most proud of?
Alba: Oh boy, remote teaching is hard. I basically had to take all my teaching materials and somehow find a way to upload them online in a creative format that would still continue to engage my students through the computer. It was very time consuming. I knew that I couldn’t simply assign pages from our curriculum, but had to offer all kinds of support that would work for my students at home: live lessons, prerecorded video lessons, 1-1 video calls if needed. I’m so proud of my students and families who continued to do their best while also supporting my efforts. I am so thankful for all the support I received and for the teaching community who shared so many resources and tips.
Epic: How do you like to use Epic in your classroom?
Alba: I use Epic in my classroom to allow my students to get more books into their hands and continue to foster that love for reading. They are able to find all kinds of books through Epic. Books on their level, above their level, nonfiction, fiction—you name it. It’s there, and there is something for all my students that sparks their interests. My students are loving the Epic Originals and our reading caterpillar continues to grow and grow!
Epic: How has Epic impacted student learning in your classroom?
Alba: I am so thankful for Epic! Epic has continued to foster a love of learning for my students within the classroom and at home. One of my students so thoroughly enjoyed a building book he found on Epic that he tried building similar things with things he had around the house and brought it to school to show us. He was so proud of himself! During distance learning, Epic was amazing in allowing my students to continue the reading at home. I love that it has a variety of reading materials for each of my students and provides an insight for me as a teacher to see their logs. I love seeing my struggling students find something they enjoy and want to read!
Epic: What piece of advice or mantra would you like to share with other educators who might be struggling this school year?
Alba: Take it one day at a time. We are all in this together! Reach out to other teachers if you are struggling or need new ideas. I love to collaborate and help fellow teachers as well as learn new resources to bring into my classroom. Epic has a wonderful teacher community and blog for helpful tips and resources. Keep going, you got this!